2012's Best Episodes: Chuck's Memorable Finale and New Girl's Awesome New Game
Yvonne Strahovski and Zachary Levi
Deaths! Interrogations! Plane crashes! Breakups! Weddings! Catfights! Sex dreams! TV had it all this year. From Desperate Housewives' fitting farewell to Fringe's powerful flash-forward, 2012 served up some remarkable hours of television, and we've assembled the top 25 episodes. Which ones made the cut? Tune in all week to see the full list.
What were the best TV shows of 2012?
Here are Episodes 15-11. (Catch up with Episodes 25-21 and Episodes 20-16.)
15. "Chuck vs. the Goodbye" Chuck
Fans who've helped the show earn 11th-hour renewals through online devotion and the consumption of Subway footlongs bid adieu with this bittersweet episode that hits all the right notes (literally in the case of Jeffster!'s swan song, a raucous cover of A-ha!'s "Take on Me.") And while Chuck's pals Morgan and Casey find love, the future is less certain for the titular hacker-spy himself. The Intersect, which uploaded a computer into Chuck's brain, is also responsible for wiping his girl Sarah's memories, including her love for him. All is not lost, however, when the two reconnect and share, what we hope, is a kiss full of promise for more to come. It's a reset of sorts, and invites fans to imagine that Chuck will live on, if not on television.
14. "There's Something I Need to Tell You," Parenthood
This show has always been a DVR-must in health, and now even more so in (Kristina's) sickness. Showing yet again that its whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Parenthood deftly juggles multiple stories — Kristina's health scare, Crosby's money issues, Amber's first love, the end of Julia's dream to make partner — before bringing the Braverman clan together for that shattering final scene when Kristina reveals her breast cancer diagnosis. Your move, Emmy voters.
13. "Normal," New Girl
Playing Jess' boyfriend, Dermot Mulroney makes an excellent temporary addition to the New Girl cast. Mulroney's straitlaced character Russell highlights the roommates' absurdity in "Normal," which teaches us what might be the greatest (and most confusing) drinking game of all time, True American. When I say, "JFK," you say "FDR!"
12. "Slaughterhouse," Justified
FX's Southern-fried drama's third season climaxes when hero Raylan Givens comes face-to-face with season-long antagonists Quarles (Neal McDonough) and Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson). Suspected of murdering a state trooper, Quarles demands that Limehouse give him the $500,000 he needs to earn his way back to Detroit, but things quickly go awry. In a scene that's as hilarious (Quarles squeals with glee at Limehouse's "piggy bank") as it is violent (Quarles' arm loses its battle with Limehouse's meat cleaver; Raylan later says he "disarmed" him), the show neatly ends a major story line while setting up the next: With his dying breath, Quarles tells Raylan that it was his father Arlo who shot the trooper. Even worse: Raylan later deduces that Arlo only shot "a man in a hat" because he thought it might have been Raylan. Ouch.
11. "New Year's Eve," Louie
As is Louis C.K.'s trademark, the comedy is found in less obvious moments: Louie's daughters open their Christmas presents early so they can go away with their mother and her new man; Louie skips his sister's family trip to Mexico when his odd new love (Parker Posey) suddenly dies. An odd dream sequence, in which Louie's now-adult daughters lament their loner dad, finds the funny in pity. But the ending is surprisingly upbeat: Louie travels alone to China and finds happiness in a room full of strangers. The only real tragedy here is only that we have to wait a whole year for this show to come back!
Check back all week to see the full list!